NZ needs to do more to protect marine life - new report

Parliament's environment watchdog has released a mixed report card on the state of New Zealand's clean green brand, calling for more to be done to protect marine life.

Aerial view of Piha Beach on Auckland's West Coast. Source:

"Already temperatures are increasing, the ocean is acidifying, and the sea is rising," Commissioner Dr Jan Wright said

"[It's] affecting the ability of zooplankton and shellfish to form shells."

Dr Wright has released an official commentary on an Environment Ministry report - Environment Aotearoa 2015 – which she says lacks conclusions that help "identify the most pressing environmental issues".

The independent commissioner's report says New Zealand is the "guardian" of a vast area of ocean, but only a small portion is protected in reserves.

"We need to do more," Dr Wright said. 

The report also highlights the damage run-off from intensive farming and historic bush clearance on unstable soils is deteriorating the water quality in some lakes and estuaries, like Lake Taupo.